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Display panels are only parts of systems, platforms, and ecosystems.  Most people understandably focus at the system level or higher, with only a few of us reserving special attention for the display panel itself.  At trade shows, you can tell who we are because we sometimes watch a TV set or monitor with our noses touching the screen.

Our peculiar behavior aside, new and interesting panels continue to be introduced, or at least rumored, and there are new deals to get them manufactured. Here are four of this week’s display stories.

LG Displays slim 5.2-inch Full HD display.  (Photo:  LG Display)

LG Displays slim 5.2-inch Full HD display. (Photo: LG Display)

July 11. Today, LG Display introduced the “world’s slimmest Full HD panel for smartphones.” The 5.2-inch panel is 2.2mm thick with a 2.3mm bezel. A key to the slimness, says LGD, is their newly applied “One-Glass-Solution (OGS)” touch screen, which incorporates dual flexible printed circuits between the panel and the touch film and reduces the number of lines on the panel by more than 30%. The touch film is directly bonded to the panel with optical clear resin. LGD says the new panel’s luminance of 535 nits maximum “outperforms all current mobile Full HD LCD panels.” Perhaps more significant is that the ambient contrast ratio is 3.74:1 at 10,000 lux, which suggests you might actually be able to read basic information in bright sunlight.

July 10. Apple rumors are always plentiful, and here’s another one courtesy of Joel Hruska at ExtremeTech. Apple will use Sharp’s IGZO backplane for versions of the iPad and MacBook Pro to be introduced in H1’14. That Apple would use IGZO at some point is no surprise since the company has invested substantially in Sharp. That IGZO is ready for prime time is also no surprise since Sharp is currently using it in a variety of LCD products, including the 32-inch 4Kx2K monitor that is now available from distributors and dealers of Sharp professional products. (Please note: Here, we are discussing IGZO for LCDs only. IGZO for OLEDs is a different story.) What’s interesting is the timing. We should get confirmation of that fairly quickly, not from Apple but through the supply chain.

July 10. From Kevin Gomez at Electronics News (Australia), we learn that Sharp is establishing a joint venture with China Electronics Corp. to be called Nanjing CEC-Panda LCD Technology Company, which will make IGZO LCDs. The new venture is to be capitalized at US $2.84 billion, and the plant is scheduled to ramp up at mid-year, 2015. CEC will own 92% of the JV; Sharp 8%. No comment on the generation of the fab, but the capitalization suggests Gen 8/8.5. The Japanese newspaper The Nikkei estimates Sharp will receive “hundreds of millions of dollars” in licensing fees for sharing the IGZO technology. Estimated capacity is 7.2 million panels per month (10-inch equivalent). Sharp will have the right to buy half of them. They sound like iPad panels, don’t they?

July 9. And on the TV side, industry sources have told Julian Ho and Alex Wolfgram of Digitimes that Innolux is talking to Toshiba and Panasonic about supplying them with Ultra HD (4Kx2K), wide color gamut (WCG) panels by the end of this year. Innolux would be competing with AUO, which has announced the color gamut of its WCG panels could approach 100% NTSC. Now, there are different ways to get that kind of color gamut from an LCD, but the most attractive one is using a quantum-dot-enhanced backlight. Currently, Sony is the only company with a QD-enchanced set on the market, but QD Vision, which makes the Color IQ component that is the key to Sony’s Triluminos system, has said it is courting other customers. We regard QD enhancement as a game changer, so there will be more to come on this. Much more.

Ken Werner is Principal of Nutmeg Consultants, specializing in the display industry, display manufacturing, display technology, and display applications. You can reach him at kwerner@nutmegconsultants.com.




Posted by Ken Werner, July 11, 2013 12:15 PM

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About Ken Werner

Kenneth I. Werner is the founder and Principal of Nutmeg Consultants, which specializes in the display industry, display technology, display manufacturing, and display applications. He serves as Marketing Consultant for Tannas Electronic Displays (Orange, California) and Senior Analyst for Insight Media. He is a founding co-editor of and regular contributor to Display Daily, and is a regular contributor to HDTVexpert.com and HDTV Magazine. He was the Editor of Information Display Magazine from 1987 to 2005.